Coming out is a big step for anyone, and can be an incredibly scary time for anyone. Once you’ve done it, however, it can be a life-changing experience.
People in the community are welcoming and supportive, and if you have a family that understands, then it can be an exhilarating to start your new life living as your authentic self.
Now that you’re out, one of the next hurdles is to conquer the dating world. LGBTQIA+, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual plus, is a broad spectrum that encompasses many individuals, each with unique
Dating in this world can be fun, but it can also be challenging, especially in these tough times. Money is short, and the cost of living crisis is having a particularly strong effect on the LGBTQIA+ community right now, with many struggling with their identities and the reality of trying to find a partner in these tough economic times.
Thankfully, there are simple ways you can make dating easier for yourself and quickly adapt to this change in your life. Whether you’re fresh out of the closet as a teen or you’re older and are adjusting to a new reality, here are some tips for those who have just come out and want to start dating with pride.
Understand Your Sexuality
As someone who’s just come out, finding the right label to name your sexuality can be a tough decision, but it’s important that you find the right marker before you start looking for a sexual partner. The LGBTQIA+ community encompasses a vast array of identities. The primary acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), Intersex, Asexual, and the “+” is meant to include all other identities that don’t fit neatly into these categories. These can include identities like pansexual, demisexual, nonbinary, and more. Before you label yourself, take the time to learn about the different identities within the community to respect each other’s identities and experiences. When talking to others and figuring out more about your sexuality and gender, it’s vital that you remain open-minded, empathetic, and respectful.
Explore Dedicated LGBTQIA+ Dating Sites
When you first begin your search, it’s important that you choose platforms that are friendly and designed for like-minded individuals who are searching for the same things as you. While most dating sites have options to select a gender identity or search for different things, it might be best to start by checking out dedicated websites specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community or your specific sub-section. For example, if you’re trans, then you can explore transgender dating sites to meet like-minded individuals and those who are looking for relationships with trans people. You’ll then feel more at home and reduce your chances of wasting your time on someone who’s incompatible with you.
Be Clear About What You’re Looking For From The Start
Open, honest, and respectful communication is a critical part of any relationship, especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community. That starts from the very first communication you have with others, such as your online dating profile bio and your initial conversations with interested individuals. Everyone enters a relationship with different expectations and intentions, so you need to make sure that yours truly align with the other person’s, so that you don’t waste your time and theirs. Whether you’re looking for a casual relationship, a more serious relationship, or even just friendship, it’s important to communicate these expectations clearly from the start to avoid misunderstandings.
State Your Boundaries At The Start
As part of your focus on clear communication, make sure that set your personal boundries from the off. Everyone has boundaries, such as sexual acts you want or don’t want to do, and it’s crucial to communicate them clearly. Other boundaries you might want to set include emotional boundaries, such as needing a certain amount of space, as well as physical boundaries or sexual boundaries. Be clear about what you’re comfortable with and ask about, then respect, your partner’s boundaries as well. If you’re not clear about your boundaries at the start and aren’t strict when it comes to enforcing them, then you could find yourself in unenjoyable and potentially dangerous situations.
Staying safe is of utmost importance in any relationship or dating scenario, but it’s particularly vital to the LGBTQIA+ community. Politicians are driving a major rise in hate crimes against members of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and this is often enacted through dating apps. Many criminals will create fake profiles to lure LGBTQIA+ individuals into unsafe situations. So, you need to be prepared and make sure you’re as safe as possible. That means being careful about the information you share online. Never share personal or sensitive information (like your home address or financial information) with someone you’ve just met online. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, choose a public place and let someone you trust know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It’s always okay to step away from a situation or a relationship that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened, so don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings and put your own needs first. Using this strategy will help to ensure that you stay as safe as possible and reduce your chances of anything bad marring your first experience dating as a member of this welcoming community.
Practice Safe Sex
It might seem like it’s a long way away, but eventually, you’re going to reach the point in your new dating experience where you’ll start enjoying sexual experiences with new partners. When this does happen, you need to make sure that you’re safe from the start. That begins with making sure that you get clear consent from your partner. Consent is a voluntary, enthusiastic, and clear agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. It should always be sought, and it can be withdrawn at any time. If you or your partner are uncomfortable with anything, stop immediately. You also need to use protection, such as barriers like condoms or dental dams to reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections and other medical issues. It’s also important that you’re getting regularly tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and discussing sexual health with your partner.
Make The Most Of This Engaging New Experience
Dating for the first time after coming out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community might seem scary and daunting, but it can also be an exciting time of self-discovery and connection. Enjoy the process, and remember there’s no need to rush. You get to decide what’s best for you, so take things at your own pace and make sure that you’re always feeling comfortable. You’ll then be able to get the most out of your new dating experience and learn new things about yourself and others in this diverse and supportive community. The process takes time, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t find the perfect partner the first time around- there will be more opportunities, so take your time and explore the dating apps and individuals in your area to find your perfect match.
Fundamentally, it’s important to remember that these are general tips and may not apply to everyone’s individual experience. The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse, and the most important thing is to find what works for you in terms of your identity, your relationships, and your overall happiness.